This year been slowly, gently piecing back together my spiritual practice winter of hibernating.
Well, let’s be real here, a winter of spiritual implosion. Rage against the divine. Abandonment by my Goddess. The darkest night of the soul. Being outrageously grumpy and fucked off.
I have this ring I wear to symbolise my commitment to Spirituality, Priestesshood and the Goddess. My whole life has been a process of uncovering my devout mystic nature, layer by layer, piece by piece. Spirituality and devotion to Goddess is a huge part of who I am. It keeps me sane, it makes me me.
A couple of years ago I initiated as a Sister of Avalon in Glastonbury. My spiritual commitment was getting unleveling and I wanted something to remind myself every day that I was in a relationship with the Divine. I wanted a wedding ring to signify it.
My ring is a beautiful brass crescent moon on a silver band: the sharp points of the moon can be a little stabby so I pair it with my grandmother’s gold wedding ring my mum gave me when I was 18. Woman power! I wear the combo – my Priestess ring and my woman’s lineage ring – on the ring finger on my left hand. People are perpetually excited when they see it because they get to ask me if I got engaged.
This last winter sucked. Goddess, Spirituality, the Divine, all of it felt frustrating and pointless and awful and like a pile of wank that only brought heartache and woe.
2015 was a fucked up year for spirituality and a lot of really intense, painful shit went down regarding my spiritual path that really had me questioning my commitment to it. I quit a spiritual training I had been dreaming of doing for my entire adult life – one of my most-wished-for life goals was doing this training. And by quit I don’t mean, quitting in a polite, not-too-bothered English kinda way. I mean quitting in a fiery, betrayed-feeling, ugly-crying, world-falling-apart, wholly-and-completely-disillusioned-and-heartbroken kinda way.
I completely lost my connection with the Goddess, with any sort of divine feeling because every time I tried to sit down to do my practice I was just overwhelmed with misery. The pain and upset of all the tears and broken dreams that 2015 brought me would flood me and I would think, is something that brings so much pain and upset and frustration really freakin’ worth it?
I just couldn’t get past the anger, the shame and the heartbreak.
And dude, I tried SO hard. I wrote it out. Burned unsent letters. Tried white-light new-aging out of it, giving it up to God, crying in the dark, screaming into pillows, rationalising it away, “empowering” myself to move on, saying “fuck it” endlessly. Nothing worked.
To top it all off, sometime in November I was in the bath washing my face and I got caught the pointy edges of my crescent moon ring and ripped my eyebrow to buggery. Blood tricked down my browbone, and I had the tiniest pair of vampire fang marks on my eyebrow for a couple of days.
RAGH! Fuck that! I was furious with Goddess anyway so I took the ring off and resentfully left it on my altar. Blood dripping down my face. I was done.
Cue two months of time off. I did a lot of witchy shadow work with Carolyn Elliott and a lot of journalling, but I stopped even attempting to keep a daily practice or do my priestess research or even talk to God. I was too pissed at Her. She could fuck right off.
Some experiences and feelings just have to be felt through and the only thing that can heals them is time. You can’t explain it away, rationalise it out, or try to be all “spiritual” about it. It just doesn’t work. There is too much emotional energy, too much pain, too much rawness that has to be honoured and seen and processed.
Without feeling that pain, honouring that anger, it blocks the flow. You can’t grow into understanding and wisdom without letting that cycle of pain and anger run it’s course.
With time and lots of tears, the heartbreak dulls, the anger fades, understanding blossoms.
And then, a long while later, I was dusting and rearranging my neglected altar and I thought, It’s time. I’m ready.
And I put my Moon Ring back on.
Symbols are powerful. When something physical acts as a potent symbol for something important, what you do with it really does makes a difference. My Moon Ring is a symbol of my commitment to spirituality and the feminine divine, a symbol of my commitment to train as a Priestess.
Taking it off left a big impression on my wild symbolic non-linear unconscious. Putting it back on made an even bigger impression.
I began to hear the whispers of the Goddess again.
I saw magic and beauty in the world.
I noticed synchronicity, the tiny nudges and gifts that the universe gives us when we are awake to see them.
The world has slowly came alive again.
This year I’ve been playing with daily practice to find a system that fulfils me, trying to release every should I possibly can: that I should stick with the boring stuff, that I should do the same thing again and again, that it should be some meditation/prayer combo for it to count, or that at a base level I should do a morning practice just to be spiritually valid or uber spiritual or whatever.
I’m feeling in to the shifting energies in the natural world again.
Goddess is once again my BFF and the world is full of purpose and magic.
I can see how what happened to me, how I dealt with it, changed me for better, taught be important things I needed to know, gave me more compassion and made me wiser.
In fact, that huge explosion, that horrific sacrifice of my dreams, that nervous breakdown, was essential to my growth and path on my training as a Priestess. I had to make a mess to be able to grow and change. I know that now. I see that.
But, I had to have that shitty winter, to sink into those betrayed feelings and sunken truths to be able to see that.
I couldn’t skip it. I couldn’t come up to this river of shitty feels and then just teleport over it. That’s not how life works. It’s not how Spirit works. It’s not how feelings work.
I had to wade through it, even though the current tried to drown me.
Even though I wanted to teleport over it so much because the disappointment hurt so much.
It’s part of the process.
I had to fully experience that stuff to transmute it.
I had to learn to experience and honour my anger to become compassionate.
I had to learn to listen to myself and my feelings to grow. To give myself permission to feel those hot, wounded feelings.
I can’t gain compassion and wisdom through trying to be “spiritual”.
I can’t learn and grow through trying to be perfect.
I can only get that stuff by fully experiencing what comes up in my life.
It’s OK to be angry. To feel like shit. To feel hopeless sometimes. To be furious at God and the whole world for being so fucking awful.
In fact, sometimes, it’s an essential part of the process. You can’t get to the other side by ignoring that shit. Even though it doesn’t feel that way, the darkness and frustration is sacred too.
Life isn’t all angels and unicorns and positivity, you know.
Sometimes you need to tell God to Fuck Off.
Just know that when you are ready, She’ll be back.